NCAA sets Nov. 25 as start date for college basketball seasons

Seasons were initially scheduled to begin on Nov. 10 but have been delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Iowa+center+Luka+Garza+takes+a+shot+during+a+men%E2%80%99s+basketball+game+between+Iowa+and+Penn+State+on+Saturday%2C+Feb.+29+at+Carver-Hawkeye+Arena.+The+Hawkeyes+defeated+the+Nittany+Lions+77-68.

Nichole Harris

Iowa center Luka Garza takes a shot during a men’s basketball game between Iowa and Penn State on Saturday, Feb. 29 at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. The Hawkeyes defeated the Nittany Lions 77-68.

Robert Read, Pregame Editor


The NCAA has set Nov. 25 as the start date for the 2020-21 men’s and women’s college basketball seasons, according to Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports.

The decision was made on Wednesday following a meeting by the Division I Council.

“The new season start date near the Thanksgiving holiday provides the optimal opportunity to successfully launch the basketball season,” NCAA Senior Vice President of Basketball Dan Gavitt said in a release. “It is a grand compromise of sorts and a unified approach that focuses on the health and safety of student-athletes competing towards the 2021 Division I basketball championships.”

Programs can begin preseason practice on Oct. 14 and will have 42 days to conduct a maximum of 30 practices. During this time, players can work out up to 20 hours per week, four hours per day, and must have one day off per week, the NCAA said.

Seasons were initially scheduled to begin on Nov. 10 but have been delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Both the Iowa men’s and women’s basketball teams were set to earn berths in their respective NCAA Tournaments before they were canceled because of COVID-19. The 2020 Big Ten Men’s Basketball Tournament was also canceled because of the pandemic.

No exhibition games or closed scrimmages will be allowed before Nov. 25. Moving the start date back from Nov. 10 is “intended to have contests begin when at least three-quarters of Division I schools will have concluded their fall terms or moved remaining instruction and exams online, creating a more controlled and less populated campus environment that may reduce the risk of COVID-19 that can occur between student-athletes and the broader student body population,” the Division I Men’s and Women’s Oversight Committees said in a release.

The maximum number of contests was reduced by four, given that the season will start 15 days later than originally scheduled.

“In men’s basketball, teams can schedule 24 regular-season games and participate in one multiple-team event that includes up to three games; 25 regular-season games and participate in one multiple-team event that includes up to two games; or 25 regular-season games if a team does not participate in a multiple-team event,” the NCAA said in a release.

“In women’s basketball, teams can schedule 23 regular-season games and participate in one multiple-team event that includes up to four games or schedule 25 regular-season games if a team does not compete in a multiple-team event.”

Teams will meet sport sponsorship requirements and be considered for NCAA championship selection if they play 13 games, which represents a 50 percent reduction of the current minimum.

For NCAA championship consideration, all 13 games must be against another Division I opponent. The Division I Men’s Basketball and Division I Women’s Basketball committees also recommended teams play a minimum of four nonconference games.

The Iowa men’s team finished the 2019-20 regular season 20-11, led by Big Ten Player of the Year Luka Garza, who is returning for his senior season as a Hawkeye. The Hawkeye women’s team finished last season 24-7 and will have to adapt to the loss of reigning Big Ten Player of the Year Kathleen Doyle, who now plays in the WNBA.

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